Taping Windows for a Typhoon is Useless

If you’ve been in Taiwan during typhoon season, you’ll know that Taiwanese people regard window-taping as important a part of typhoon preparation as stocking up on instant noodles. However, it seems that this bit of local wisdom can be safely dismissed:

From Snopes:  Contrary to popular belief (and a frantic rise in the sales of these items before a hurricane hits), taping a home’s windows with masking or duct tape does nothing to protect them. The windows will still break, with the tape doing nothing to impede the process. It’s questionable that either sealant will even keep broken glass from dispersing, says the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).

From the National Hurricane Center (U.S.):  It is a waste of effort, time, and tape. It offers little strength to the glass and NO protection against flying debris. After the storm passes you will spend many a hot summer afternoon trying to scrape the old, baked-on tape off your windows (assuming they weren’t shattered). You would be better off spending your time putting up shutters over doors and windows.

From Gizmodo:   “Taping up windows prevents them from shattering.”

No. No it does not. In fact, it can make matters worse. When untaped windows get hit with flying debris, they’re liable to shatter into a million tiny pieces. Sure, that sounds bad, but consider the alternative. When taped windows are hit with debris, they still break, but into larger, more menacing, dangerous pieces. These are the shards that could cause really damage to you. So forget the tape; it’s just a pain to clean up afterwards anyway.

Of course good luck telling your Taiwanese neighbour any of this – old habits die hard in Taiwan.